The Chicago Bulls just would not give up against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night. They came into the contest with both of their stars unavailable as Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan were sidelined due to respective injuries.
Chicago battled through adversity, though, and they ended up upsetting Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. in a hard-fought overtime win, 120-113.
Milwaukee Bucks Coach Speaks Out on Missed Play
It was in-demand guard Alex Caruso who saved the day for the Bulls with his game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer. Chicago needed a triple to force the game to overtime, and that’s exactly what Caruso delivered in incredible fashion:
ALEX CARUSO BUZZER-BEATER 3 TO SEND IT TO OT 🤯
— NBA (@NBA) December 1, 2023
The Bucks had a chance to foul the Bulls during that last play. At the very least, it would have prevented the home team from attempting a game-tying trey. Apparently, this exactly was what Milwaukee head coach Adrian Griffin had in mind:
“Well, with 5 seconds – ideally, my philosophy is 5 seconds, around that 5-second mark – what I told the team was if they catch it with their back toward the basket, foul. They caught it a little further out. That’s on me,” Griffin said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We should’ve just fouled if they caught it that far out as well and not giving them an opportunity to tie the game. When you get to that 5-second and under, it’s a little more tricky ‘cause you don’t want to foul them in the act of shooting as well. That was kind of right there at the cutoff point. Again, that was on me. We had an opportunity to foul. It did present itself. I didn’t know if it was going to present itself or not, but the rule and what I told them if they catch it with their back toward the basket it’s the general rule to foul.”
The idea was there but the Bucks just failed to execute. And it cost them dearly.
Brook Lopez Take Responsibility for Lost Opportunity
Bulls center Nikola Vucevic received the inbounds pass on the final play. Milwaukee had a chance to foul the Chicago star before he handed it off to Caruso. It was a missed opportunity for the Bucks, who now have the benefit of 20-20 hindsight.
Brook Lopez was the man guarding Vucevic when he received the ball near the halfcourt line. The Bucks center admits he should have fouled:
“I definitely had an opportunity (to foul). I could’ve fouled ‘Vooch.’ I didn’t,” Lopez said. “‘AC’ made a good play. It was definitely an option. Within the three(-point line). Outside the three was a little different, but I should’ve just made a heads-up play. That’s something that I have enough experience to know.”
Malik Beasley, on the other hand, was the player assigned to cover Caruso during the inbound play. The Bucks decided to switch their defensive assignments, which led to Lopez being left on an island against Caruso. For his part, Beasley also agrees that his team should have committed a foul:
“The read is we should’ve fouled I think, personally,” Beasley said. “We had talked about it, but only if his back was to the basket. But, that’s a tough shot. Honestly, I think we should’ve just fouled. That’s us on players to understand that and especially when Vučević had his back turned, we could’ve fouled.”
That’s all water under the bridge now as the Bucks go home with a tough L.
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